Being polite seems to be a thing of the past. Nowadays whether you say please or thank you is really up to you. Nobody has the power to ask you ‘what’s the magic word?’ before handing you an item, so why would you say your Ps & Ts when you’re going to get your way either way?
Maybe nothing has changed. The same way we said please and thank you (Shortened to Ps & Ts for sake of this post) to anyone who had power over us in one way or another, be it by age (i.e. parent or teacher) or by resources (i.e. the classmate with all the coloured pencils) when we were younger, is the same way we apply this principle to our lives now. Only this time the people in power aren’t those older than us or with what we need but instead people with status.
The Groupie in You
Let’s be real, at one point in your life you’ve treated someone a certain way because of who they were or who you thought they were. It’s okay, it’s human nature. Let’s use the example of ordering food, why is it that when people make orders at restaurants like McDonald’s it sounds more like a set of commands?
Employee: ‘Hi, what would you like to order?’
Us: ‘This, that, errrr this, and that errr that’s all’
But when you’re a little bit out of your comfort zone and in unfamiliar territory like The Ivy for example, your whole demeanour changes. The moment the waiter asks you for your order when you’re not ready, you’re scared to ask for a few extra minutes. And the conversation goes a bit more like this:
Waiter: ‘Hi, can I take your order please?’
Us: ‘Errrr…yes. Can I ‘please’ get the so so and so ‘please’?
All of a sudden you’re the most polite person on earth. This is the same when dealing with individuals in a general setting too. For some people it’s as simple as using variations of the same word. Chances are you say ‘thanks’ to people that look a certain way, probably not even smiling as you say it. But a more attractive and affluent individual deserves the full ‘thank you’ accompanied by a huge grin. These are things that we probably do subconsciously and are so desensitised to now because nobody is going to pulls us up on it like they did back in primary school.
Level the Playing Field
Why not try and treat everyone with the same level of politeness regardless of what they have or where they work? At the end of the day it doesn’t cost anything at all. The same energy we use to tell people ‘Fxck you’ when things go wrong is the same energy we should use to say ‘Thank you’ when things go right, it’s the same amount of syllables is it not?
You Never Know
Now imagine you’ve spent the whole day working in retail. You’ve had a bunch of customers who have come in with a million and one complaints directed at you forgetting you’re just the messenger who’s being paid by the hour and you didn’t even get to go on your break. In other words you’re having a shxt day.
Now, you get a customer whose aura is like an absolute ray of sunshine. They treat you like you’re actually a human and not just some cog in a wheel. When they’re done paying for all their items they hit you with a, ‘Thank you, hope you have a nice day’. For someone whose day was far from nice, that short phrase would probably mean a lot more to you than any of the abuse you received earlier.
Sometimes we forget workers are humans with actual emotions too. Their jobs probably make them feel enough like robots without difficult customers further pushing that agenda. So next time you go shopping or receive your food delivery, rather than slamming the door in your driver’s face, try saying ‘Thank you, have a nice day’…then you can slam the door in their face, trust me it makes a difference.